Sharpening the Practice - a review of the management and processes for early learning complaints and incidents
Summary of report
- An important role of the Ministry of Education is to ensure that all licensed early learning services and certificated playgroups (early learning services) are meeting regulatory requirements to provide quality education and care.
- We make sure that parents, whānau and kaiako are able to voice their concerns about an early learning service, and that they are heard. That includes concerns they have about how we respond.
- Our management of complaints and incidents is one of a number of ways we identify whether an early learning service is continuing to meet regulated standards. How we manage and respond to complaints is important to give parents and whānau confidence that their tamariki are learning in safe, quality and well-run early learning services.
- In 2018, the Ministry of Education commissioned an independent review of our early learning complaints and incidents management processes. This was led by an external reviewer, who considered the Ministry’s effectiveness at managing and responding to complaints and incidents in early learning.
- A range of stakeholders participated in the review process, including representatives from sector peak bodies, relevant agency managers and key personnel / members of the public who have an interest in the Ministry’s complaints and incidents process.
- The resulting report, ‘Sharpening the Practice – a review of the Ministry of Education’s management processes for early learning complaints and incidents (the report) was provided to the Ministry in early 2019.
- Overall, the report identifies that Ministry staff use day-to-day processes well when managing and responding to complaints and incidents in early learning. The review found that Ministry staff take effective actions when responding to complaints and uphold our commitment to respond to all complaints seriously.
- The report makes ten recommendations to further strengthen the Ministry’s practice when managing and responding to complaints and incidents in early learning. Each of the report’s recommendations are outlined in the table below, along with our response.
Recommendations and Ministry responses
The following table outlines recommendations and Ministry response from Sharpening the Practice - a review of the Ministry of Education’s management and processes for early learning complaints and incidents
|Intervening on a child’s behalf||
||All complaints and incidents received by the Ministry are assessed to determine the level of risk and identify appropriate next steps. Timely escalation of serious complaints supports the Ministry to respond effectively. The report’s recommendation to strengthen staff training in this area has been incorporated into our broader programme of work.|
||A Ministry-wide review of regulations is currently underway, which will address the report’s recommendation to clarify aspects of the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008.|
||While the Ministry currently can, and does, conduct unannounced visits to support our monitoring and enforcement roles, the draft Strategic Plan for Early Learning has recommended increasing our monitoring role further to raise quality provision. If progressed, this recommendation will also consider the use of unannounced visits as part of a broader monitoring strategy.|
|National and regional coherence||
||We are continuing to progress work already underway to improve our systems and share best practice, which gives effect to these recommendations.|
|National and regional coherence||
||We are considering the implications of providing regional access to Early Learning Information system data. This will require careful management and assurance processes to ensure there are clear rules in place to guide the use and application of this information, noting privacy considerations.|
|Continuous improvement focus||
||Recommendations focussed on continuous improvement are being actioned through existing programmes of work focused on refining internal guidance and further developing our reporting on complaints and incidents management in early learning.|
|Communication and collaboration for credibility||
||A web page is available that outlines the Ministry’s processes when responding to complaints about early learning services. Services can contact the local Ministry of Education office for further information about making a complaint or how the Ministry responds to a complaint.|
This content is also available as a downloadable PDF document:
Sharpening the Practice - ECE Complaints full report
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